Sean Lev Named New FCC General Counsel

He replaces Austin Schlick, who is stepping down next month.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski today announced that Austin Schlick will step down as general counsel, effective mid-June. Sean Lev, currently deputy general counsel and special adviser to the chairman, will succeed him.

Genachowski said: “Having known Austin Schlick for many years, I had very high expectations when he joined as general counsel. Austin exceeded those expectations in every way. He is one of a kind — a great counselor and a great manager, visionary and practical, brilliant and wise. Austin’s excellent work is reflected in every accomplishment of the commission over the past three years, and in the very strong team in the office of general counsel, who under Austin’s leadership consistently provide creative, legally sound, and workable solutions to issues faced by bureaus and offices across the agency.”

He continued, “I am confident that excellent work will continue under the leadership of Sean Lev. Sean has deep experience and expertise, and we are lucky to have him at the agency. I look forward to relying on his legal analysis and his judgment, and I am sure that in the period ahead the office of general counsel will continue to a center of excellence at the FCC.”

As General Counsel, Schlick was involved in FCC reform efforts, including strengthening ex parte disclosure, expanding online filing and access to commission dockets, removing obsolete and unnecessary rules, and improving cost/benefit analysis. The agency under Schlick’s leadership prevailed in better than 90% of court cases challenging orders issued by the Genachowski commission.

Austin Schlick joined the FCC as general counsel in July 2009, bringing experience in both state and federal government, as well as private legal practice. Before joining the Commission, he served as Chief of Litigation for the State of Maryland. In 2004 and 2005, Schlick served at the FCC as deputy general counsel for litigation and acting general counsel. Before that, he was an assistant to the solicitor general in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he argued seven cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Schlick was a partner at the Washington law firm of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, specializing in communications law and litigation. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Chief Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School.


Sean Lev came to the FCC from the Department of Energy, where he was the acting general counsel and deputy general counsel for environment and nuclear programs. Before joining DOE in June 2009, Lev was a partner at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, where his practice focused on telecommunications, administrative law, and appellate and general litigation. He was also an attorney on the appellate staff in the civil division at the United States Department of Justice.

Prior to his service at DOJ, Lev clerked for the Honorable Patricia M. Wald of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was a supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review. He is also a magna cum laude graduate of Williams College.

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